In recent years, Australia has made internet privacy very difficult for its citizens. This country is a member of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance, and it allows your online activities to be recorded and stored in data warehouses.
Using VPN software is the best way to avoid getting spied on or hacked.
A quality VPN service will equip you with tools that will help you to remain anonymous on the internet. Neither your ISP nor your government will have any idea what you’re doing online. That’s why we’ve come up with a ranking of the best VPN services for Australia:
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All-around leading VPN
Forward-thinking and cheap
Cheapest VPN for Australia
Popular cheap VPN
24/7 live chat, Email
- Top-notch security features
- Excellent speeds
- Great for streaming
- No router app
NordVPN has around 270 servers in Australia and 5500+ of them worldwide. It’s an excellent service if you’re living down under. It’s just as great if you’re living abroad and want to access content that’s only available in Australia (like specific Netflix libraries). Download and upload speeds are high in both cases.
You can use this VPN on up to 6 devices simultaneously. Aside from Netflix, you can also unblock BBC iPlayer, Disney+, and other media streaming platforms. There’s also the option to use it for P2P connections and torrenting; there are specific, dedicated servers for that.
Your privacy is in good hands with this VPN. Get NordVPN to take advantage of their full security suite that includes next-gen encryption and secure tunneling protocols. Their no logs policy was also independently audited by one of the Big 4 auditing firms – PricewaterhouseCoopers AG. It’s a reliable confirmation that their promises about keeping your privacy safe aren’t just a marketing slogan.
For a deeper investigation of NordVPN, read our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark VPN
24/7 live chat, FAQ
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Highly affordable
- Great performance
- Weak self-help support section
Despite being relatively new service, Surfshark has more than enough features to land on our best VPN for Australia 2021 list. The company is registered in the British Virgin Islands, far away from Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes surveillance alliances.
Their no-logs policy was even tested in 2018 by an independent audit conducted by the Cure53 agency. In turn, Surfshark was crowned the best newcomer among VPN’s in 2019.
However, their policy isn’t their only strength; there’s more on offer here. With AES 256-bit encryption and tunneling protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2 protocols, and Shadowsocks, you’ll find a combination that is secure and fast in no time. You can try Surfshark for seven days with their free to test service.
The speeds are fast enough to comfortably stream Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other streaming platforms – Surfhsark unblocks all of these. Not only will this VPN keep you more private; it will give you more digital flexibility as well.
For a deeper investigation of Surfshark VPN, read our Surfshark VPN review.
24/7 live chat
- Great for Netflix
- 7-day free trial
- Fast speeds
- macOS and iOS apps have fewer features
One of the smallest VPN server fleets with 100+ servers in 60+ countries; yet, PrivateVPN seems to cover the most important locations and provide you with relatively good connection speeds. There are also servers in Melbourne and Sydney, so if you’re abroad, it’s possible to connect to those as well.
This VPN service has all the best available protocols, IPv6 leak protection, DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. It should work with Netflix, Hulu, and other media streaming platforms, as well as with torrent clients like BitTorrent and uTorrent. With one plan you can use it on 6 devices.
The pricing plans are quite reasonable compared to what’s on offer. You can get PrivateVPN as low as $2.50/month. The service includes 24/7 live chat which will help solve any issue that might arise.
For a deeper investigation of PrivateVPN, read our PrivateVPN review.
24/7 live chat
- Great speeds
- Apps for major platforms, Android TV, and routers
- Unblocks Netflix and other platforms
- No anonymous payments
VyprVPN fairly recently also completed an independent audit of its no-logging policy. The review was conducted by Leviathan Security, certifying that no logs of customer data are being kept. The company behind VyprVPN, Golden Frog, is based in Switzerland, a country with no data retention laws. In other words, your privacy is in good hands with them.
What’s even more impressive is that VyprVPN owns and manages their own servers, all of the 700+ servers in 70+ countries are theirs. This makes the service a lot more secure and private. In addition to all the standard protocols and privacy features, VyprVPN comes with its Chameleon VPN technology, which helps avoid VPN blocking and throttling.
While this service does support P2P traffic, the company won’t stand for copyright violations. So, if torrenting is something that you’d like to do, it’s out of the question here. With that said, this VPN is compatible with most streaming platforms and unblocks Netflix.
You may try VyprVPN with a risk-free 3-day trial.
For a deeper investigation of VyprVPN, read our VyprVPN review.
5. Private Internet Access
Live chat, email
- Very cheap
- Fast speeds
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Not good in China
Private Internet Access is based in the US, which is one of the least privacy-friendly countries. However, PIA has proven on a number of occasions that their commitment to user anonymity is a priority for them. Multiple court cases where PIA didn’t provide any data is testament to the fact that their no-logs claims are valid.
PIA boasts 36700+ servers, but these are distributed in only 77 or so countries. While some areas of the world could enjoy fast connections, others may suffer from slowdowns caused by physical distance from servers.
You can use PIA for Netflix and it is also great for torrenting. You can try PIA with no risk using the 7-day money-back guarantee option.
For a deeper investigation of Private Internet Access, read our Private Internet Access review.
24/7 live chat, email, knowledge base
- Excellent security
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Unblocks Netflix US
- No anonymous payment options
Although it’s based in the US (a Five Eyes alliance member), IPVanish does many things right. First of all, they rely on AES-256 encryption. This makes the service every bit as secure as the competition. Brute force attacks against you will be ineffective, making man-in-the-middle attacks useless against you.
The service also has no IP address or DNS leaks, making IPVanish all the more secure. There’s an in-built kill switch to protect you from accidental IP leaks. These measures combined guard your privacy from your ISP or other nosy individuals.
Secondly, the service works for torrenting or streaming. Get IPVanish to expand your internet usage possibilities. The speeds are good enough for your downloads to complete fast and your videos to buffer quickly.
For a deeper investigation of IPVanish, read our IPVanish review.
24/7 live chat
- Temptingly low pricing
- 10 simultaneous connections
- Good range of supported platforms
- Some of the server locations are fake or “virtual”
Based in Hong Kong, PureVPN has a lengthy list of features that will help you to protect your online privacy in Australia. You can choose between OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), L2TP, SSTP, IKEV, and PPTP. You should be able to find a combination that works with all your devices.
There are also unique features like IPv6 leak protection and smart port selection, which automatically connects to the best port. Should you need it, you can even use port forwarding. It’s one of the most feature-rich suites we’ve seen.
Currently, you can try PureVPN just for $3.33/month. With this trial, you’ll get access to all the mentioned features and be able to connect to any server.
For a deeper investigation of PureVPN, read our PureVPN review.
8. Hotspot Shield
24/7 live chat
- Free version
- Very fast
- Great for Netflix
- Most plans are not cheap
Hotspot Shield Premium is a paid version of the service. The added benefits include choosing any server and no data cap. It’s a vast improvement on an otherwise excellent product that removes all annoying ads.
The service relies entirely on the proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol, dropping the standard OpenVPN. This makes the service impossible to set it up on the router, and you will thus be restricted to five simultaneous connections with no way to expand the device count.
However, you’ll be delighted to know that P2P connections are enabled and work on all servers. You can also be sure that your downloads will stay hidden from your ISP. Check HotSpot Shield offers as they are known to run frequent discounts.
For a deeper investigation of Hotspot Shield, read our Hotspot Shield review.
How we made this Best VPN for Australia list
When picking the best VPN for Australia, we consider various features. Some of them might be more useful if you’re abroad and want some “Australian” content that is now inaccessible. In other cases, you might be living in the country but are concerned about your privacy. Here’s what you should be looking for when you’re looking for a VPN service:
- No-logs policy – the service should keep no identifiable data on you. It’s the only way to keep your privacy secure.
- Security – anything that makes your traffic harder to hijack is a plus. This includes reliable encryption and secure tunneling protocols.
- Performance –when connected to a VPN server, your internet speed should remain stable and high enough for bandwidth-intensive tasks like downloads and streaming.
- Value – the price for the service should be reasonable when compared to the competition and the features that a particular provider brigs to the table.
Hopefully, this will help you when picking the best VPN for Australia.
Fastest VPN for Australia – Speed Test
If you’re in Australia, you need a fast VPN. When the continent is almost 4,000 km (2,500 miles) in length and width, your connection from Perth to Brisbane will definitely suffer. Now imagine connecting to Netflix US or BBC iPlayer and trying to watch a 4K video that requires at least 25 Mbps – chances are you’ll be left with less than half of your original speed.
That’s why we’ve run speed tests for these 7 VPNs for Australia to see if you’ll be able to torrent and stream in HD.
|1.||NordVPN||60 Mbps||214 Mbps||137 Mbps|
|2.||PIA||78 Mbps||131 Mbps||105 Mbps|
|3.||Surfshark VPN||56 Mbps||151 Mbps||104 Mbps|
|4.||PrivateVPN||132 Mbps||70 Mbps||101 Mbps|
|5.||VyprVPN||20 Mbps||70 Mbps||54 Mbps|
|6.||IPVanish||19 Mbps||78 Mbps||49 Mbps|
|7.||PureVPN||25 Mbps||66 Mbps||46 Mbps|
Why use a VPN in Australia
Australia is one of those few countries that have no legal right to privacy embedded in the constitution. When it comes to internet privacy, the situation is grim, and it shows through recent government actions. Australia’s participation in the Five Eyes alliance means invasive surveillance, and it’s entirely legal for your ISP to keep tabs on you. Sadly, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Use a VPN for torrenting in Australia
Australian federal government recently expanded its crackdown on piracy. There are monitoring agencies like INCOPRO that work in tandem with the government to close down torrent tracker websites. The Copyright Amendment Bill was passed in 2018, which heavily restricts the distribution of copyrighted content.
Naturally, it is a crime in Australia to torrent copyrighted material even though there’s not much done against users of BitTorrent, uTorrent, or Vuze. Nevertheless, as a direct consequence of passed bills, most BitTorrent tracker sites such as IsoHunt, ThePirateBay, Torrentz, and TorrentHound are blocked. The total number of blacklisted torrent trackers is growing and includes all the most popular sites.
This, combined with the logging policies, can mean big trouble for you. You should never download anything copyrighted in Australia.
Data retention laws in Australia
In 2014, Australia became a pioneer country, introducing legislation that severy undermines the privacy of its citizens. Next year, the US and the UK followed. We’re talking about the data retention law that requires telcos to store users’ metadata for two years (more than in any Western country) without any warrant.
This Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015 includes metadata from your phone calls, SMS, cell tower locations, and online activities, such as emails or browsing. If that wasn’t enough, the Federal Court has ruled that such metadata has nothing to do with personal information as such. The government even didn’t think of a better excuse for such mass surveillance, citing terrorism as the reason for this Act.
However, this makes more sense when you remember that the US and the UK, Australia is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. Therefore, this information might be needed for other countries in the first place. All this comes after the Australian Privacy Foundation, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Human Rights Council have all deemed metadata collection to be against human rights.
Abusing the data retention law
More problems arise due to the lack of clear data set definition. This leads to the government collecting as much data as it can without any attempt to target only a specific format or data range. Unfortunately, a large enough batch of metadata can become as revealing as the data itself. Furthermore, for some reason, browsing history also falls under the metadata category, even though the government claimed otherwise.
When the telcos and the government handle two years’ worth of data, its security becomes a concern. In one instance, the Australian Federal Police provided sensitive data to the Senate that was freely available online for years. In 2019, ACT Policing disclosed that they unlawfully accessed metadata of more than 3,000 times.
There’s even no clear cut answer as to which government institutions qualify as “enforcement agencies” – only these can access (meta)data. And when there’s no need for a warrant, the Attorney-General can authorize any institution she wants. However, many institutions, involving taxi companies, a veterinarian, and some anti-dumping agencies found and used a loophole to get the metadata they needed.
Finally, there’s a serious lack of evidence that would show the efficiency of mass surveillance. Neither the US, nor Germany, nor Australia had any example where such data lead to preventing a terrorist attack. And in the end, the users themselves are paying for this data retention system as the government only partially covers its cost for the telcos. So maybe the time has come to finally propose Australia’s first Human Rights Bill for a change?
Use a VPN for torrenting in Australia
Even though torrenting in Australia is legal, you should still use a VPN for your P2P endeavors. That’s because downloading and streaming copyrighted content is punishable by law. Add a Federal Court’s decision to allow law enforcement to target users, mix in The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill, and you have yourself a not very P2P-friendly ecosystem.
The sad part is that there’s no upper limit for the compensatory damages that a user might be obliged to pay. The fun part is that no one has been punished for torrenting, yet. That being said, if you don’t want to be the first one, you should get a reliable VPN for Australia.
For starters, a VPN will help you access blocked P2P sites, such as The Pirate Bay. All you have to do is connect from another country, and the ISP won’t stop you from browsing freely. When using a VPN, you’re hiding your real IP address and encrypting your traffic. This way, no one can tell what you’re doing online, and all third-parties will see the IP of the VPN server.
Australians are also restricted when it comes to legal streaming services for sports and other entertainment. There’s no way to purchase streaming services like Sling TV, BBC iPlayer, or HBO Now. Illegal streaming isn’t an option, but paid services may not always be available. This means that most Australians miss out on the content that the rest of the world freely enjoys.
Netflix is the most popular streaming platform, and while it’s available in Australia, it doesn’t offer the same number of shows as the most-coveted US library does. Below you can see the difference in movies and TV shows available in major English-speaking markets, as per Unogs.com.
But it’s not always about quantity. Sadly, some of the popular movies and TV shows are unavailable to Aussies.
Here’s a list of Netflix US exclusive content that many in Australia would love to see legally:
- Parks and Recreation (series)
- The Office (series)
- The Hateful Eight: Extended Version (movie)
- All American (series)
- Barbie and Her Sisters in a Pony Tale (movie)
- American Crime (series)
- The West Wing (series)
- The Twilight Zone (series)
- Twin Peaks (series)
Based on the following examples, it should be pretty clear that if you’re in Australia, you should opt for the best VPN for Australia. This is the only solution to be free from surveillance and enjoy unrestricted internet.
Unblock blocked websites
Even if you’re not interested in circumventing geo-blocks and geo-restrictions, there’s another type of blocks in Australia. We’re talking about the Australian Site Blocking Bill, which came into force in 2015. According to it, certain “copyright-infringing websites” will be blocked by the ISPs upon a request from the copyright holders.
This means that without a VPN, you won’t be able to visit The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt, 123movies, and other piracy-related websites from all over the world. In 2020 alone, more than 80 sites have been added to Australia’s blacklist, showing that the censorship is still going strong. Site owners claim that they offer only a search engine and don’t host any illegal content on their servers.
The best way to deal with this blocking is to use a VPN. When you connect to a server in another country like New Zealand, you will get a new IP address. It will allow you to visit your desired site, provided it’s not already blocked in your chosen country. And because of your encrypted traffic, no one will be able to tell what kind of websites you’re visiting.
Protect your activity on public wifi
There are over 600,000 free wifi networks in Australia, as per Wiman.me. To put this in a context, Canada has over 2 million, though its area, population, and its density are of comparable size. Indeed, the spread of public wifi in Australia has been quite slow – while most hotels offer a free connection, this has yet to become a norm in Down Under.
Of all available hotspots, 50,000+ are in Melbourne, 36,000+ in Sydney, while Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide have about 16,000 apiece. The situation in Canada is even more urban-centric – more than half of all free wifi’s are in the five biggest cities. Online life in the metropolis seems to be fine, but getting a free connection in rural areas still poses trouble.
Rural wifi options
There are some solutions for areas where the population is less dense than vacuum. A company named Speedcast offers satellite wifi for remote locations, such as ships, mines, or the Great Sandy Desert. The hotspot covers about half a mile, which should be enough for most super-rural getaways. Then it’s up to the owner to decide whether this will be a free or paid service for her customers.
While Speedcast’s offer seems like a great solution, let’s not forget that satellite wifi has an upper limit of 100 Mbps, and you most certainly won’t be getting it in the middle of Australia. Finally, we’re not talking about the cost of starting such a hotspot in the first place. Therefore, it seems that the regions will have to wait for the NBN network to roll out.
The picture above shows NBN-ready locations in purple, as of October 2020. Yes, that’s not much, especially if you reside in Northern Territory.
Urban wifi options
Sydney has a pretty good public wifi network that includes five of its beaches. The municipality of Melbourne also made sure that you have a decent connection. However, there’s a 250 MB daily limit. When in Brisbane or Perth, you will find free wifi in most public spaces, parks, and cafes.
As for Perth, it was the first Australian city to cover all central business district. Finally, the capital Canberra also added the suburban regions to its CBD. But what about the Aussie telcos – do they offer free wifi?
Turns out that Telstra, the largest telco in Australia, has built the largest free wifi with more than 1 million hotspots. As you can see from the picture above, its coverage is much better than NBN’s.
The caveat is that Telstra Air service is available to its clients only. In the meantime, the second-largest telco in Optus is only planning to build a simal network, while the Vodafone and TPG seem to be busy with their merger.
When on public wifi, turn on your VPN
No matter which one you use in Australia, all public wifis suffer from the same vulnerabilities. A cybercriminal can use a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack to steal your login credentials and even lure you into a fake banking site. When you use a VPN, your traffic becomes encrypted, meaning no one can see what you’re doing online.
Best VPN in Australia according to Whirlpool
Whirlpool is an independent Australian forum with 820,000 daily users. One of the widely discussed subjects is which is the best VPN for Australia. Most people are truly frustrated by the imposed restrictions on privacy and are actively looking for solutions.
Surprisingly, we noticed that Surfshark is one of the biggest favorites on Whirlpool. It gets praise for reliability, the ability to unblock Netflix, and great security features. Here’s what one user had to say about this service:
VPNs to avoid in Australia
Not all VPNs guarantee your safety. Some of them might claim they don’t keep logs, when in fact, they still log connections and other data that could incriminate or identify you. Therefore, make sure to avoid VPNs that don’t comply with the basic requirements for the best VPNs for Australia.
We recommend that you avoid all free VPNs because they are simply not secure enough. They log too much data and even sell or share that information with third parties, including marketers and legal authorities. So, you want to stay away from Hola VPN, VPN Gate, and the like. The only free VPNs we can advise trying are in our Best Free VPN for Australia article.
Are free VPNs reliable?
Most free VPNs aren’t reliable at all. However, the same can be said about a number of premium VPNs as well. It all comes down to the reputation and the actual quality of a particular service.
The problem with free VPNs is the logging they do. Even though it says “no-logs policy,” that doesn’t mean your personal information is not being sold to third-parties. What’s more, free VPNs might have serious vulnerabilities, and some can even be a source of malware. Another problem is that many of them are registered in the United States, which is far from a privacy-friendly country.
That’s why we strongly recommend choosing a free VPN service for Australians from our curated list. Most of them come with military-grade encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and a kill switch. This should be enough to secure your connection and access blocked websites. Most of them also offer premium plans in case you need more features.
Privacy and VPNs in Australia – FAQ
Are VPNs legal in Australia?
VPNs have legitimate purposes; no laws are prohibiting them. Using such a service to access geo-blocked content is not considered illegal in Australia. The Productivity Commission in Australia stated that due to strict copyright laws, Australians get charged more for inferior services than those of overseas markets. The report also cleared that means to circumvent geo-blocking are not illegal.
How much does a VPN cost in Australia?
A good VPN for Australia will cost you around $3.70/month. That is if you take a long term-deal, which ranges from one to two years. The prices start at $2.50/month and go up to $3.33/month.
What are the privacy laws in Australia?
The way privacy violations are legislated in Australian law doesn’t offer residents a lot of recourse. The only form of how privacy is protected is common law in conjunction with various federal, state, and administrative regulations. While the Privacy Act 1988 tried to put everything together, the subsequent data retention laws threw it away, as an evil villager throws away the newborn kittens.
This is in addition to the government’s view of what constitutes a good reason to violate your privacy. The reason for starting this surveillance apparatus was, of course, war on terrorism. But it the end, it all came down to getting your metadata without a warrant.
How long do ISPs keep your browsing history in Australia?
In April 2017, Australia passed the bill that made it mandatory for ISPs and telecommunication companies to store and collect data about their user’s communications for 24 months. This includes your browsing history, text messages, calls, and other connection information.
Can my ISP see what I do on a VPN?
When you’re connected to a VPN server, your IP is hidden. Your ISP only sees that there has been an exchange between your IP and the VPN server’s IP. The connection is encrypted, plus, connection to the destination server is handled by the VPN, so your ISP can’t expose your activities.
Can I use a VPN with Netflix?
Netflix usually blocks IPs that belong to VPNs. That is thy most services are unable to bypass Netflix blocks. With that said, all of the services on our list will let you watch Netflix.
Although the company doesn’t encourage the practice of using a VPN, you’re not breaking any Australian law in doing so.
Can I use a VPN for Torrenting?
You absolutely should use a VPN for torrenting. Without it, your ISP can instantly tell what you’re downloading and from where. Under data retention laws, this means that this information stays pinned on you for several years and stored in data centers. If you download copyright-protected material, this may also get you in deep trouble with the authorities.